Friday, July 2, 2010

First Paddle of 2010

After shoulder surgery five weeks ago, yesterday, July 1, 2010 I did my first kayak paddle.  I have kayaked the Port Angeles Harbor before with my friend Gary… and we were both eager to get out on the water.  It had rained most of the day… but off we went about 6pm.

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After not kayaking for almost six months, and having surgery on my shoulder, I wasn’t sure I would remember how.  I wasn’t sure it wouldn’t hurt too much to do it.  But, boy, I just slide right into the kayak and pushed off… and nothing… just glided right out there.  We paddled around, saw some seals, fish, birds.

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Saw a rainbow off on the horizon above the Coast Guard facility.  We paddled toward that… a total of about two miles round trip.  At about a mile, my shoulder muscles cramped a bit so we turned and headed back toward the van.

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Here is my friend Gary knelling on a catamaran kayak he build… designed by him… and made so that he can also paddle it like a paddle board, standing up.  He is a year older than I am.

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Also, you might notice that this is a rainbow out on the far  horizon… it’s very faint… and I could even see it slightly reflected in the water. 

It was a great paddle and I feel reassured that I can now resume my Kayaking Adventure… though I will still have to take it easy a few more months and avoid waves, strong currents, etc.  Still I felt great being able to accomplish this yesterday.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada

This morning early Gary and I headed over to Victoria on the Victoria Express Passenger Ferry.  It’s an hour ride and on the way over I spotted some whales spouting off at some distance, but I believe they were Orcas.  I wish they had been closer.  Olympic Mountains in background.

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We arrived and waited at the Ferry Terminal for Sandy.  He picked us up and drove us around town, telling us all about changes to Victoria since he was a kid. 

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Then we parked near some interesting shops… and went browsing.  Gary found a beach chair he had been looking for and I found replacement batteries for my SPOT gps device.  Also found a small whisk for mixing cocoa and stuff in the van.  We saw the fancy old hotel – The Empress, beautiful flowers on their grounds, etc.

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Then we went to China town and walked all through it and also an interesting little alley that has a number of shops.  I guess the brick buildings there are made from bricks that were used as ballast in ships.  Some interesting signs:  Chinese Canadian Cultural Association,  Chinese Freemason Society, hum… things I’d never thought about.

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Saw this really interesting old brick building built in 1821… that is vacant waiting to be earthquake retrofitted… and it’s prime real estate.  The Janion Building -

In an almost unprecedented move, Victoria council has voted to start a process that will give heritage designation to the Janion and Morley’s Soda Water Factory buildings even though the owner hasn’t requested it.

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Sandy treated us to a lovely lunch in a nice restaurant we would not have found on our own, and then dropped us back off at the waterfront.  Sandy, you are a gentleman and a scholar… and a gracious host. Thank you for your hospitality.  Next time, I’ll bring the van across and drive the two hours to come and visit your home/shop.  Thank you for coming so far to see us on such short notice.

Gary and I drooled over these old roadsters that were for rent. 

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We walked the waterfront looking at all the craftsmen and musicians.  I loved this Orca made of glass mosaic.  I guess there are a bunch of these all around… like the pigs in Seattle. This was the only one we saw.

Artist: Sara Gifford, Jane Van Sickle & Michael Hofmann
Sponsor: Prince of Whales Whale Watching
Location: Lower Causeway - adjacent 812 Wharf Street

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Other things I enjoyed: these coins that had background carefully sawed out… beautiful work, the tiny little boats, the mimes that looked like bronze and plaster statues, and the sculptor Klaus Emmaneel – Merlin Arts.

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That evening we caught the last Ferry back to Port Angeles, passing a number of sea planes, a large freighter, but saw no whales on the return.  It was a good day.

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Another small and unimportant thing I noticed… RESTROOMS are called Washrooms in Canada.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Aberdeen to Forks (continued) Part II.

Continued from Part I.

Later, when they are captured by fishermen or return to the hatchery, these coded wired are recovered.  The information gained from the tags allows Fish and Wildlife Service biologists to document estimated survival rates and possible migration routes.

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“The roots of the Quinault Indian Nation lie deep within the land. The land and its resources represents both out heritage from the past and our legacy to the future.”

Guy McMinds, 7th National Indian Timber Symposium.

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The hatchery had nice exhibits… and was all very clean.  I enjoyed reading about the cultural history of the area.

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Just really want to get to Port Angeles and rest and then try my hand (errrr arm) at kayaking again.

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A couple miles before South Beach Campground there is a Trading Post near the Queets River, where you can do laundry and take a shower. 

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South Beach Campground was nice… costs $10 a night (and no fireworks allowed).  One camper had caught a fish this morning and had cooked it up.  I walked by drooling. 

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The beach of littered with dozens of very large crab that had washed up.  What a pity.  They were as big as my foot… and that is BIG. Who knows how long they had been dead or why they died.  Sure made me hungry though.

At about mile point 174 I saw something white at the side of the road… no, two something whites… and it was two large matted dirty Commodore(?) dogs.  I stopped at the next place I found to ask if anyone was missing two big white dogs.  She said they belong in the area and she would call the owners and tell them where the dogs were.  They were crossing Highway 101.

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Or maybe they are Great Pyrenees, yes, I think that’s what they were… they didn’t have the dreadlocks like the Commodores. 

And in the Ho Rain Forest there I also saw a Hostel along the highway.  Good to note. In the morning I’ll explore The Forks a little and then head on in to Port Angeles.

Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in Spring 2017. In training now for the hike.